Accused drug trafficker Christopher Patterson arrived for court Friday wearing a jacket that bore a cartoon-style recipe for cooking crack cocaine.
Appearing before Broward County Circuit Court Judge Michael Usan in Fort Lauderdale on charges of Trafficking Oxycodone and Conspiracy to Traffic Oxycodone, Patterson, 25, is no stranger to the criminal justice system with traffic, misdemeanor, and felony arrests dating back to 2002.
Dressed to impress fellow criminal defendants, assistant public defenders, assistant state attorneys, defense lawyers, and maybe the judge – Patterson’s attire failed to “crack up” the courthouse crowd.
Patterson’s jacket was a how-to guide for making crack cocaine, complete with pictures of a white substance with a spoon, a carton of baking soda and a little pot over a fire. The end product was a “rock,” or slang for the once popular street drug.
“Probably not the smartest attire for a defendant,” said Fort Lauderdale attorney Michael D. Weinstein to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, after snapping a photo of Patterson.
The finishing touch was the slogan “stack paper say nothing” — or make money and hold onto it, in drug world vernacular.
Patterson’s criminal defense attorney, Joshua Rydell, stated that it was not the first time one of his clients made an inappropriate choice of apparel when appearing in court.
“Giant marijuana leaves on their T-shirts … It’s so common that I routinely advise clients, ‘No drug-related clothes when you come to court,” Rydell said.
“This fashion faux pas was not a wardrobe malfunction but a slap at the judiciary,” said Jim Lewis, a well known Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney. “I would never have allowed one of my clients to appear in court dressed in a crack jacket.”
While humorous now, Patterson’s disrespect for the court may cost him later. If convicted of trafficking in oxycodone, he faces up to 30 years in a Florida state prison. The penalties can be severely enhanced based upon his prior criminal history record.
When questioned about Patterson’s choice of attire on a cool south Florida morning, Judge Michael Usan merely stated, “no comment.”